September 18th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Watch GPS: Jeff Immelt and a Middle East roundtable

We have a terrific show for you today. First up, a man who wears two very important hats. Jeffrey Immelt is President Obama's job czar. In his day job, he is the CEO of General Electric. Then, "Why in the World?" is oil about to be drilled right off America's coast without any American involvement? Next up, the Palestinian territory's quest for statehood, chaos in Egypt, the fate of Gadhafi - a roundtable of top experts will look at all of this and more. And, finally, one "Last Look" at an area where America's top dog status has just been reaffirmed.

Before I give you my take, a programming note. You wouldn't want to miss the CNN Special tonight, "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to Work." Top American leaders join me to talk about how to fix the unemployment crisis. That's at 8:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific.

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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. joti KingKumar

    Fareed, let's tell them the truth.

    The fact is that Mr. Immelt should come and study India, which is the only plausible model for America. It used to be that Mr Immelt invests in India and we felt hugely honored. Now it is the reverse.

    Only India, the world's greatest democracy and its only remaining super duper power can save you all. India shines while the world declines!

    For decades now, America has specialized in financial engineering with the super companies like GE, Goodman Saks, and Lehman Sisters. India's economy is however very complementary to these economies because we specialize in providing warm bodies to the world with our super companies like Tata and Infosys. For example, isn't that the recent "difficulties" America had experienced because the USA had run out of such bodies to whom to sell these no income, no ask, no breath loans. Imagining with 1.4 billion of us Indians, you will never run them out now. Our huge dalit population will forever grow like wide fire in a California forest, they do not typically have jobs and they will never pay the loan back, that is just matching perfectly the lending profiles for such super companies like Bank of America and Citibank. Our dalits will permanently reduce the cost of labor for you. And most of all yet, they are hereditary, and inexhaustible. Our dalits are always prepared to do exactly the same work for a 1 rupee meal a day, let alone a 5 rupee meal a day. That makes your IBM, HP, and Mr. Immelt's GE obscenely profitable and rich in 360 degrees and forever.

    Jai Hind!

    September 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  2. Rohan Kulkarni

    Sep 18, 2011
    President Barak Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    CC: Rep Frank Wolf, Sen Jim Webb, Sen Mark Warner, Speaker John Boehner, Rep Eric Cantor, Sen Harry Reid, Sen Mitch McConnell, Mr. Jeffrey Immelt, Press

    Project Simple Reinvention

    Mr. President,
    While I am optimistic about the future, I am tired and frustrated as are millions of Americans about the political futility of the various plans proposed to reduce employment and kick start our economy. I do not believe they will work as neither sides appears to want to work together. So I am proposing to you Project Simple Reinvention; a simple, yet powerful plan that leverages the private sector to do what only the private sector can do…Hire Millions.

    This is a simple plan to break the enormous dependency on the government to reduce unemployment. The plan is to empower the private sector to become the driver but in a targeted manner. This targeted and impactful attack on unemployment should not only reduce unemployment to 5% but create a real and sustaining demand for products and services to grow and expand our economy. The framework of the plan is;

    1. Encourage some 195,000 private US companies/employers who have more than 100 employees in America to hire 6 million by October 31, 2011.
    2. While on average each of the employers would need to hire 32 employees, reality is they could hire between 1-50 depending upon their size, industry, community and other criteria. The levels of employment we need by each individual employer would be minuscule compared to their overall size. This will minimize risk and costs to the employers and encouraging them to participate.
    3. This is perhaps the only place we need the government to support it and that is to provide a tax credit per newly hired employee up to 50% of their wages for the first six months or until April 30, 2012. This will help the employers offset some Q4 costs while reducing risk.
    4. Finally, participating employers should commit that they will not eliminate existing positions to make room for new employees hired as part of Project Simple Reinvention for at least 6 months.

    The impact of the plan would be so powerful that I envision the following to happen:
    1. It will reduce our unemployment to normal levels while boosting revenues without having to raise taxes in as little as 30 – 60 days.
    2. It will generate demand and reignite ancillary industries from retail, restaurants, cars, travel and tourism.
    3. The timing will be particularly impactful coming in ahead of the holiday season, ensuring more kids this holiday season will be visited by Santa Claus.

    While I am convinced that this is the sort of Bazooka we need, to end the vicious business and political cycle we are in, it requires a planned and coordinated strike, one that is unprecedented in nature. Putting 6 million Americans back to work in 30 days across close to 200,000 employers will require leadership, trust and enormous resolve. All of which I believe we have. Please keep government involvement to a minimum and let the private sector do what they can.

    Wish you the best and God Bless the United States of America.

    Rohan Kulkarni

    September 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • James Haas

      Hey Rohan,
      Have you ever heard of 'profit motive'? Why should any business hire someone if it doesn't make economic sense? Do you realize that your plan does not create jobs? It only transfers economic benefits from one person (tax payer or one business that can't or is unwilling to hire) to someone else (a business that can afford to hire). On net, your plan will probably destroy value by supporting losing businesses at the expense of stronger businesses.

      I speak with many small businessmen (and women) in my work and the primary reason they aren't hiring is because the costs of a new employee are too high. Obama's healthcare bill has worsened this problem by increasing costs. (So the guy that created the jobs problem now proposes $447 billion to solve the problem? Idiotic.) Minimum wage and numerous laws that protect workers also raise costs.

      Unintended consequences and people belief that government solves problems (through 40 years of Keynesian policies) are the reason we're in this mess.

      September 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Reply
      • Bob

        James – After having worked in for over 30 years in the private sector, I would not have figured out the "profit motive"...Thanks for that education! While I enjoyed your lack of solution....what I dont think you recognize is that in today's private sector, 1 person is doing the job of 1.6 making the need to hire. However businesses have learnt to be productive on the backs of harder working people. So people being suckers in this environment is not reason to think that it is the right profit motive. Love to hear your solution.

        January 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jack McCune

      Dear Sir,

      I fully agree with you. The only way for our nation to get back to work is for the private sector to do the hiring, and not wait for Washington. Waiting for the Government to come together, and work with one another is like watching turtle race. Except turtles move faster than Washington. I was very inspired by this evenings GPS broadcast. My company has over $500 million dollars available for business to grow and expand, and I am lending. Growing small, medium, and large businesses can be the catalyst to get our country moving forward again. After listening this evening at how banks aren't lending, and that there are buildings which could be being built if companies had the money. Not to make a plug for my own company, but I know for a fact there is money available for businesses to build and expand. I know its available for businesses even if they have had a hard time of it in the recent past, or have less than perfect credit. I hope and pray we can put Amcericans back to work. Thank you for making your comment, and God bless you, and God bless America.
      Jack McCune
      Percheron Financial Group

      September 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  3. Jay

    IMr. Immelet is an interesting fellow. As the words Made in America are being spoken GE is moving its Chicago based Xray divsion to China

    September 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  4. James Haas

    Why is Jeff Immelt the model for job creation? Because Obama says so?? Hilarious! Immelt has outsourced tens of thousands of jobs as CEO of GE. Additionally, GE lobbies Congress hard for tax breaks, so they barely pay any taxes. (See NYT article or Bernie Sanders' website for details). Who should be on the follow-up interview? Lloyd Blankfein as the model of corporate ethics, or the CEO of Exxon as the model for environmentalism. This show is crap!

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!! The government should not be in the job creation business. Government doesn't create jobs! Under the current system, it merely transfers tax dollars from individuals to large corporate interests, disadvantaging smaller and medium businesses along the way. (Small and medium businesses are the real job creators, not GE.) Why doesn't government get out the way and let business compete without all these subsidies to large companies?

    September 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  5. Ram

    I watch your show regularly. I was quite surprised that you never covered the Anna Hazare movement/Jan Lokpal bill protests in India.(or did I miss it?) How do you decide which Global event to cover in your show. Was it not important enough to be covered.

    September 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  6. tempemom

    Mr. Zakaria
    My 15 is in a quandary over whether to watch your special, or Curiosity on Discovery, as they both air at the same time. GPS and Curiosity are something he looks forward to every week. You are his favorite TV journalist, but I have to admit, he also likes Brett Baier. (sp?)

    September 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  7. John Petrich

    You have a problem. We have a problem.. August 21 was the last date we could enter and listen to GPS. We can listen to how not to be a spy, etc.

    Since then we have received an error message that says: " The video timed out attempting to play. Please ensure that you do do not have any Flash or Java Script blocking plugins active." As a a result, we are able to easily able to view any of the CNN segmwnts, but not the GPS program.

    This is your problem, not ours. We have not changed anything that we are aware of. We can view and listen to the CNN segments. Help us connect with you on GPS or you will lose us as avid viewers.

    John and Carole Petrich, Seatle, WA

    September 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      I second this – I've been unable to view GPS episodes for a while now. Please fix this as I love you show!

      September 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • CharlotteinIowa

      I get the same error message. I can't bring up that pod cast. I saw the broadcast this morning but I wanted to see it again and to share it. Its hard to believe that President Obama chose that man to be the so-called Jobs Czar. Obama seems very determined to be a Republican puppet. This Job Czar is a good example of Obama's sell out to many who voted for him. Its another good example of why I would never vote for him again.

      September 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • Paul P.

        I concur with these other people. Please correct this change you made with your Podcasts as I can no longer view them either. I cannot always see you show on Sundays and rely on your Podcasts to get caught up.

        September 21, 2011 at 8:46 am |
  8. David A

    Please fix your video.

    September 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  9. Steven Z. Levinson

    During your GPS show today on September 18th, Professor Rashid Khalidi stated that all Israel needed to do to diffuse the dispute with Turkey is "to apologize for the nine who died in the flotilla." That does not explain the bizarre behavior of the Turkish Prime Minister who walked out in the middle of a peace conference in Switzerland several years ago thus insulting Shimon Perez, the President of Israel. It does not explain why Turkey allowed the flotilla ship to leave its port in the first place knowing that Israel had a blockade that was allowed under international law. It does not explain Turkey’s Prime Minister threatening Cyprus with military action to stop them if they start gas or oil explorations within their territorial waters. And it does not explain Turkey’s most recent threat today that they will disconnect their relationship with the EU if Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU. And if that is not enough, what about the endless murders of the Kurds living under Turkish rule? In the future the right thing would be to challenge a panelist when he makes such an incorrect statement.

    September 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • Mert

      "what about the endless murders of the Kurds living under Turkish rule" ....Steven, Have you been living under the cave? Get you facts together, Turks and Kurds have been living together for decades. Take Istanbul for example majority of the garment manufacturers and wholesalers are kurdish origin turkish citizens (my dad was a tradesman and worked with them over 35 years)...Kurds and Turks are brothers and the only cowards are the ones they call themselves so called Independence seekers PKK who threatens to kill and steal from their own people and force youngsters to be part of their combat team just again to come back and kill their own people and soldiers/police forces. Long story short before telling people what is the right thing to do try to make your search carefully and gather facts straight....

      September 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
      • Steven Z. Levinson

        The best for Turkey would be to mind its own business.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • tolga zafer

      -of course it will not explain cause there is a time difference before what Turkish PM did and brutal israel attack on innocents ; as always happens,
      – Turkish PM was right living the conference as you called "peace" when there is a man killing innocents including babies, olds, women,
      – israel may have builded a safe area for herself but it doesn't mean that we couldn't use that way, if israel sees the right for herself we see the right using that way on ourselves-by the way UN has said that israel do not have any rights blocking international seas-remembered 🙂
      -Turkish PM has the right to warn southern cyprus cause there is not any agreements for that between northern and southern cyprus and UN, there is a problem which must be solved urgently before that,
      -as you called last threat which we call warning; acceptence of cyprus for eu accepted by the Turkish gov. for a number of reasons and agreements-thats why Turkish PM warns EU, if they will not do their part we will not do our part and act in a different way which is the right thing to do.
      – there is no endless kills of kurds, as they say they are millions of kurdish people in Turkey, so you can not say that, but i can count you more than 30.000 Turkish citizens killed by kurdish terrorists.
      -and one last thing for you, can you tell me how many people you have killed in millions? I am just an ordinary Turkish citizen, we follow everything so we are not like everbody else, search before you write anything...
      I do not like our PM but its still our PM, world! open your eyes and seek the truth, search the past, get over propagandas and look behind the wall... and the others RIP....

      September 20, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
      • Steven Z. Levinson

        Turkey should mind its own business and not try to rebuild the Ottoman Empire on Israel's account.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  10. Muin

    The funniest suggestion I heard this saunday was from former president clinton which is "cooperative policy". Only people who believe that's possible is living in fairy land. Are you kidding me?Cooperative policy. LMAO.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:30 am | Reply
  11. Sarah Lindemann-Komarova

    Clarity at last, all that has to happen for American born and raised multi-national corporations to bring jobs to America is for the workers to settle for $15-$20 an hour. And yet, Mr. Immelt did not add to this solution any mention of a cut back on his $15.2 million 2010 compensation. What a patriot. Disappointing a baby-boomer, albeit a Republican, where there is not even a distant echo of JFK's words "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"....

    September 19, 2011 at 8:07 am | Reply
  12. DonnaJoy

    Zakaria, I watched your special last night. Some of the show was helpful and informative while other sections were poor. The CEOs from Starwood and Dow Chemical had some substance to them and I learned some things I did not know before. The interview with the CEO from GE was poorly done and did not add anything substantive to the conversation about creating jobs. Your commentary was slanted to the right and showed your bias. I understand that it was your view but it did not add anything to a very serious conversation about creating jobs.. It gave me further reason to not watch CNN on a regular basis as I did about a year ago.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
  13. Doug Davis

    Mr. Immelt complained about the tax rate that GE has to pay. He neglected to say that GE paid no US taxes last year. Fareed should have called him on it.

    Check this out:

    September 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  14. CharlotteinIowa

    I think that someone at CNN has decided that the interview with Jeff Immelt is too hot to share again. I have contacted CNN several times to get that pod cast working. That interview shows so clearly that Obama made an extremely bad choice for the Jobs Czar position. Obama just keeps making mistake after mistake after mistake, seeming directed by the Republicans. Obams's few recent semi-good sounding crumb comments are not going to calm very many of his angry troops.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:15 am | Reply
  15. Frank Buono

    September 25, 2011

    Dear Mr. Zakaria:

    Thank you for your interview with the Turkish Prime Minister. You performed an important service both to Israel and the American citizenry. Some may not think so. They prefer that Israel’s conduct never be subject to critical, moral analysis. But Israel’s conduct, including the Gaza Blockade, the colonization of the West Bank, the Flotilla Raid are costing Israel dearly. Only the United States remains as Israel’s single, uncritical apologist. Close allies like Turkey no longer accept Israel’s behavior. The revolution in Egypt toppled a dictator who aligned himself completely with the Gaza Blockade. Israel’s friends are dwindling, albeit the United States remains a formidable ally. Arab leaders, such as Abu Mazen, have nothing to show for reigning in terrorist activity, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist. It does not serve Israel to force the moderate leaders into such an untenable position. Collective punishment, use of disproportionate violent force against civilians are behaviors that sickened the world during World War II. They are not justified because they now suit the Likud Party.

    In our public discussion of today’s religious extremism, we forget that the single, fundamentalist religious doctrine that most troubles the world TODAY is that “God gave a certain piece of real estate to a single people and from which all others should be excluded, or be held under occupation.” This religious belief is so fanatically held and widely accepted that few even question it. In fact, no one dares question it.

    Israel has the right to exist in peace. But that peace will be secure only when the Palestinian people also have recognition. Just as the United Nations created Israel in 1947, the U.N. has the power to recognize a Palestinian State. Lifting the Gaza blockade would be a big step forward both for Israel and the people of Palestine. It was refreshing to hear the leader of Turkey. I know you will be vilified because of it. But continue your role of providing public information that challenges our complacency with the “party line.”

    September 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  16. Andrew

    The interview with the Prime Minister of Turkey was the weakest interview I have ever seen. Fareed Zakaria often asks very tough questions of Israel's leaders, of Pakistani politicians, and others. I don't understand why he did not ask one tough question of Erdogan. I have rarely seen such bias by an interviewer and was incredibly disappointed in Mr. Zakaria. That interview was just an opportunity for Erdgogan to bash Israel without being held accountable for his own actions. On this one, you should be ashamed Mr. Zakaria!

    October 10, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  17. Occupado

    Jeffrey Immelt at a Middle East Roundtable? Are you serious? What does little Jerry Jeff have to offer? Hundreds of thousands of jobs exported to China like he did when he was the CEO of General Electric?

    Chrony Capitalism: It's not for everybody, but it sure worked well for little Jerry Jeff.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply

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